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This pious cheat, that never suck'd the blood, Who had not run the hazard of his life,
Pervert, with bad advice, our better mind.
And made her man his Paradise forego, And in his high imagination cast,
Where at heart's ease he lived; and might have been By stratagem to gratify his taste.
As free from sorrow as he was from sin.
Silence in times of suffering is the best,
'Tis dangerous to disturb an hornet's nest. Then sculk'd till afternoon, and watch'd his time, In other authors you may find enough, (As murderers use) to perpetrate his crime. But all they say of dames is idle stuff. O hypocrite, ingenious to destroy,
Legends of lying wits together bound, O traitor, worse than Sinon was to Troy!
The Wife of Bath would throw them to the ground; O vile subverter of the Gallic reign,
These are the words of Chanticleer, not mine, More false than Gano was to Charlemaign! I honour dames, and think their sex divine. O Chanticleer, in an unhappy hour
Now to continue what my tale begun; Didst thou forsake the safety of thy bower : Lay madam Partlet basking in the Sun, Better for thee thou hadst believ'd thy dream, Breast-high in sand: her sisters, in a row, And not that day descended from the beam : Enjoy'd the beams above, the warmth below. But here the doctors eagerly dispute :
The cock, that of his flesh was ever free,
Sung merrier than the mermaid in the sea :
Among the coleworts, on a butterfly,
I need not swear he had no list to crow : For what he first foresaw, he must ordain,
But cry'd, “ Cock, cock!” and gave a sudden start, Or its eternal prescience may be vain :
As sore dismay'd and frighted at his heart; As bad for us as prescience had not been,
For birds and beasts, inform’d by Nature, know For first, or last, he's author of the sin.
Kinds opposite to theirs, and fly their foe.
Yet shunn'd him as a sailor shuns the rocks,
But the false loon, who could not work his will To punish man, who sins because he must ? By open force, employ'd his flattering skill; Or, how can he reward a virtuous deed,
“ I hope, my lord,” said he, “ I not offend; Which is not done by us; but first decreed? Are you afraid of me, that am your friend? I cannot bolt this matter to the bran,
I were a beast indeed to do you wrong, As Bradwardin and holy Austin can;
I, who have lov'd and honour'd you so long : If prescience can determine actions so
Stay, gentle sir, nor take a false alarm,
To learn the secrets of your soft recess :
Far be from Reynard so profane a thought, Another sort there is conditional.
But by the sweetness of your voice was brought : The first so binds the will, that things forek nown For, as I bid my beads, by chance I heard, By spontaneity, not choice, are done.
The song as of an angel in the yard ; Thus galley-slaves tug willing at their oar, A song that would have charm'd th' infernal gods Content to work, in prospect of the shore ;
And banish'd horrour from the dark abodes; But would not work at all if not constrain'd before. Had Orpheus sung it in the nether sphere, That other does not liberty constrain,
So much the hymn had pleas'd the tyrant's ear, But man may either act, or may refrain.
The wife had been detained, to keep the husband Heaven made us agents free to good or ill,
there. And forc'd it not, though he foresaw the will. “ My lord, your sire familiarly I knew, Freedom was first bestow'd on human race,
A peer deserving such a son as you: And prescience only held the second place. He, with your lady-mother (whom Heaven rest)
If he could make such agents wholly free, Has often grac'd my house, and been my guest: I not dispute, the point's too high for me ; (sound, To view his living features, does me good; For Heaven's unfathom'd power what man can For I am your poor neighbour in the wood; Or put to his Omnipotence a bound ?
And in my cottage should be proud to see He made us to his image, all agree ;
The worthy heir of my friend's family. That image is the soul, and that must be,
“ But since I speak of singing, let me say, Or not the Maker's image, or be free.
As with an upright heart I safely may, But whether it were better man had been
That, save yourself, there breathes not By nature bound to good, not free to sin,
One like your father for a silver sound. I wave, for fear of splitting on a rock.
So sweetly would he wake the winter-day, The tale I tell is only of a cock,
That matrons to the church mistook their way,
(ground on the
And he, to raise his voice with artful care,
Who, true to love, was all for recreation, (What will not beaux attempt to please the fair ?) And minded not the work of propagation. On tiptoe stood to sing with greater strength,
Gaufride, who could'st so well in rhyme complain And stretch'd his comely neck at all the length :
The death of Richard with an arrow slain,
Not louder cries, when Ilium was in flames, From sweet Cecilia down to Chanticleer;
Were sent to Heaven by woeful Trojan dames, Not Maro's Muse, who sung the mighty man, When Pyrrhus toss'd on high his burnish'd blade, Nor Pindar's heavenly lyre, nor Horace when aswan.
And offer'd Priam to his father's shade, Your ancestors proceed from race divine :
Than for the cock the widow'd poultry made. From Brennus and Belinus is
Fair Partlet first, when he was borne from sight, Who gave to sovereign Rome such loud alarms, With sovereign shrieks bewail'd her captive knight: That ev'n the priests were not excus'd from arms. Far louder than the Carthaginian wite,
“ Besides, a famous monk of modern times When Asdrubal, her husband, lost his life, Has left of cocks recorded in his rhymes,
When she beheld the smouldering flames ascend, That of a parish-priest the son and heir,
And all the Punic glories at an end :
With greater ease than others seek their bed;
When tyrant Nero burn'd th' imperial town,
Shriek'd for the downfall in a doleful cry, Now sing, my lord, if not for love of me,
For which their guiltless lords were doom'd to die. Yet for the sake of sweet saint Charity;
Now to my story I return again :
This woeful cackling cry with horrour heard,
And, starting up, beheld the heavy sight,
And cross his back, as in triumphant scorn, So much the more, as, from a little elf,
The hope and pillar of the house was borne. He had a high opinion of himself;
“ The fox, the wicked fox!” was all the cry; Though sickly, slender, and not large of limb, Out from his house ran every neighbour nigh : Concluding all the world was made for him. The vicar first, and after him the crew Ye princes, rais'd by poets to the gods,
With forks and staves, the felon to pursue. And Alexander'd up in lying odes,
Ran Coll our dog, and Talbot with the band; Believe not every flattering knave's report,
And Malkin, with her distaff in her hand;
In panic horrour of pursuing dogs ;
This Chanticleer, of whom the story sings, Poor swine, as if their pretty hearts would break. Stood high upon his toes, and clapp'd his wings; The shouts of men, the women in dismay, Then stretch'd his neck, and wink'd with both his with shrieks augment the terror of the day; eyes,
The ducks, that heard the proclamation cry'd, Ambitious, as he sought th’ Olympic prize. And fear'd a persecution might betide, But, while he pain'd himself to raise his note, Full twenty miles from town their voyage take, False Reynard rush'd, and caught him by the throat. Obscure in rushes of the liquid lake. Then on his back he laid the precious load,
The geese fly o'er the barn; the bees in arms And sought his wonted shelter of the wood; Drive headlong from their waxen cells in swarms. Swiftly he made his way, the mischief done, Jack Straw at London-stone, with all his rout, Of all unheeded, and pursu'd by none.
Struck not the city with so loud a shout; Alas, what stay is there in human state,
Not when with English hate they did pursue
A Frenchman, or an unbelieving Jew;
And echoes bounded back from Fox's hall: [fall. In Aries though the Sun exalted stood,
Earth seem'd to sink beneath, and Heaven above to His patron-planet to procure his good;
With might and main they chac'd the murderous Yet Saturn was.his mortal foe, and he,
fox, In Libra rais'd, oppos'd the same degree :
With brazen trumpets, and inflated box, The rays both good and bad, of equal power, To kindle Mars with military sounds, Each thwarting other made a mingled hour. Nor wanted horns t'inspire sagacious hounds.
On Friday morn he dreamt this direful dream, But see, how Fortune can confound the wise, Cross to the worthy native, in his scheme !
And, when they least expect it, turn the dice. Ah, blissful Venus, goddess of delight,
The captive cock, who scarce could draw his breath, How could'st thou suffer thy devoted knight, And lay within the very jaws of Death ; On thy own day to fall by foe oppress'd,
Yet in this agony his fancy wrought, The wight of all the world who serv'd thee best ? And Fear supply'd him with this happy thought:
OR THE LADY IN THE ARBOUR.
“ Your's is the prize, victorious prince," said he, “ The vicar my defeat, and all the village see.
THE FLOWER AND THE LEAF: Enjoy your friendly fortune while you may, And bid the churls that envy you the prey Call back their mungril curs, and cease their cry,
A Vision. See, fools, the shelter of the wood is nigh, And Chanticleer in your despite shall die, Now, turning from the wintery signs, the Sun He shall be pluck'd and eaten to the bone." His course exalted through the Ram had run,
“ 'Tis well advis'd, in faith it shall be done ;" And, whirling up the skies, his chariot drove This Reynard said : but, as the word he spoke, Through Taurus and the lightsome realms of Love; The prisoner with a spring from prison broke :
Where Venus from her orb descends in showers, Then stretch'd his feather'd fans with all his might, To glad the ground, and paint the fields with And to the neighbouring maple wing'd his flight ;
flowers : Whom when the traitor safe on tree beheld,
When first the tender blades of grass appear, He curs’d the gods, with shame and sorrow fill'd; And buds, that yet the blast of Eurus fear, year : Shame for his folly, sorrow out of time,
Stand at the door of life, and doubt to clothe the For plotting an unprofitable crime ;
Till gentle heat, and soft repeated rains, Yet, mastering both, th' artificer of lies
Make the green blood to dance within their veins : Renews th' assault, and his last battery tries. (fend, Then, at their call embolden'd, out they come,
“ Though I,” said he, “ did ne'er in thought of And swell the germs, and burst the narrow room ; How justly may my lord suspect his friend! Broader and broader yet, their blooms display, Th' appearance is against me, I confess,
Salute the welcome Sun, and entertain the day, Wlo seemingly have put you in distress :
Then from their breathing souls the sweets repair, You, if your goodness does not plead my cause, To scent the skies, and purge th' unwholesome air: May think I broke all hospitable laws,
Joy spreads the heart, and, with a general song, To bear you from your palace-yard by might, Spring issues out, and leads the jolly months along. And put your noble person in a fright :
In that sweet season, as in bed I lay, This, since you take it ill, I must repent,
And sought in sleep to pass the night away, Though, Heaven can witness, with no bad intent: I turn'd my weary'd side, but still in vain, I practis'd it, to make you taste your cheer Though full of youthful health, and void of pain : With double pleasure, first prepar'd by fear. Cares I had none, to keep me from my rest, So loyal subjects often seize their prince,
For Love had never enter'd in my breast; Forc'd (for his good) to seeming violence,
I wanted nothing Fortune could supply, Yet mean his sacred person not the least offence. Nor did she slumber till that hour deny. Descend; so help me Jove as you shall find I wonder'd then, but after found it true, That Reynard comes of no dissembling kind.' Much joy had dry'd away the balmy dew :
“ Nay,” quoth the cock; “but I beshrew us both, Seas would be pools, without the brushing air, If I believe a saint upon his oath :
To curl the waves : and sure some little care An honest man may take a knave's advice, Should weary Nature so, to make her want repair. But idiots only may be cozen'd twice :
When Chanticleer the second watch had sung, Once warn'd is well bewar'd ; not flattering lies Scorning the scorner Sleep, from bed I sprung; Shall sooth me more to sing with winking eyes
And, dressing by the Moon, in loose array, And open mouth, for fear of catching flies. Pass'd out in open air, preventing day, Who blindfold walks upon a river's brim,
And sought a goodly grove, as fancy led my way. When he should see, has he deserv'd to swim?” Straight as a line in beauteous order stood " Better, sir cock, let all contention cease, (peace." of oaks unshorn a venerable wood; “ Come down,” said Reynard, “ let us treat of Fresh was the grass beneath, and every tree “ A peace with all my soul,” said Chanticleer; At distance planted in a due degree, “ But, with your favour, I will treat it here : Their branching arms in air with equal space And, lest the truce with treason should be mixt, Stretch'd to their neighbours with a long embrace, 'Tis my concern to have the tree betwixt."
And the new leaves on every bough were seen,
Some ruddy colour'd, some of lighter green.
The painted birds, companions of the Spring,
Hopping from spray to spray, were heard to sing. In this plain fable you th' effect may see Both eyes and ears receiv'd a like delight, Of negligence, and fond credulity :
Enchanting music, and a charming sight. And learn beside of flatterers to beware,
On Philomel I fix'd my whole desire ; Then most pernicious when they speak too fair. And listen’d for the queen of all the quire ; The cock and fox, the fool and knave imply ; Fain would I hear her heavenly voice to sing; The truth is moral, though the tale a lie.
And wanted yet an omen to the spring. Who spoke in parables, I dare not say;
Attending long in vain, I took the way, But sure he knew it was a pleasing way,
Which through a path but scarcely printed lay; Sound sense, by plain example, to convey;
In narrow mazes oft it seem'd to meet, And in a heathen author we may find,
And look'd as lightly press'd by fairy feet.
At last it led me where an arbour stood,
And, seiz'd at once with wonder and delight, Nor till her lay was ended could I move,
And all three senses in full gust enjoy'd.
And what alone did all the rest surpass, And all around the shades defended it from day: The sweet possession of the fairy place; For sycamores with eglantine were spread, Single, and conscious to myself alone A hedge about the sides, a covering over head. Of pleasures to th' excluded world unknown : And so the fragrant brier was wove between, Pleasures which no where else were to be found, The sycamore and flowers were mix'd with green, And all Elysium in a spot of ground. ' That Nature seem'd to vary the delight;
Thus while I sat intent to see and hear,
And drew perfumes of more than vital air,
To join their voices, and neglect the lyre.
A train less fair, as ancient fathers tell,
Seduc'd the sons of Heaven to rebel. The persons plac'd within it could espy :
I pass their form, and every charming grace, But all that pass'd without with ease was seen, Less than an angel would their worth debase : As if nor fence nor tree was plac'd between. But their attire, like liveries of a kind 'Twas border'd with a field ; and some was plain All rich and rare, is fresh within my mind. With grass, and some was sow'd with rising grain. In velvet white as snow the troop was gown'd, That (now the dew with spangles deck'd the ground) The seams with sparkling emeralds set around : A sweeter spot of earth was never found.
Their hoods and sleeves the same; and purfled o'er I look'd and look'd, and still with new delight; With diamonds, pearls, and all the shining store Such joy my soul, such pleasures fill'd my sight: Of eastern pomp: their long descending train, And the fresh eglantine exhald a breath,
With rubies edg’d, and sapphires, swept the plain : Whose odours were of power to raise from death. High on their heads, with jewels richly set, Nor sullen discontent, nor anxious care,
Each lady wore a radiant coronet. Ev’n though brought thither, could inhabit there: Beneath the circles, all the quire was grac'd But thence they fled as from their mortal foe; With chaplets green, on their fair foreheads plac'd. For this sweet place could only pleasure know. Of laurel some, of woodbine many more ; Thus as I mus’d, I cast aside my eye,
And wreaths of agnus-castus others bore : And saw a medlar-tree was planted nigh.
These last, who with those virgin crowns were dressid, The spreading branches made a goodly show, Appear'd in higher honour than the rest. And full of opening blooms was every bough: They danc'd around: but in the midst was seen A goldfinch there I saw with gawdy pride
A lady of a more majestic mien;
Her short performance was no sooner try'd, With more of godhead shining in her face;
So, nobler than the rest, was her attire.
Plain without pomp, and rich without a show. I stood entranc'd, and had no room for thought, A branch of agnus-castus in her hand But, all o'erpower'd with ecstasy of bliss,
She bore aloft (her sceptre of command); Was in a pleasing dream of Paradise ;
Admir'd, ador'd by all the circling crowd, At length I wak’d, and looking round the bower, For wheresoe'er she turn'd her face, they bow'd : Search'd every tree, and pry'd on every flower, And as she danc'd, a roundelay she sung, If any where by chance I might espy,
In honour of the laurel, ever young: The rural poet of the melody;
She rais'd her voice on high, and sung so clear, For still methought she sung not far away : The fawns came scudding from the groves to hear ; At last I found her on a laurel spray.
And all the bending forest lent an ear. Close by my side she sat, and fair in sight, At every close she made, th' attending throng Full in a line against her opposite;
Reply'd, and bore the burthen of the song: Where stood with eglantine the laurel twin'd; So just, so small, yet in so sweet a note, And both their native sweets were well conjoin'd. It seem'd the music melted in the throat.
On the green bank I sat, and listen'd long Thus dancing on, and singing as they danc'd, (Sim more convenient for the song): They to the middle of the mead advanc'd,
Till round my arbour a new ring they made, Like to their lords their equipage was seen,
And all their foreheads crown'd with garlands grect. O'erjoy'd to see the jolly troop so near,
And after these came, arm'd with spear and shield, But somewhat aw'd, I shook with holy fear; An host so great, as cover'd all the field, Yet not so much, but that I noted well
And all their foreheads, like the knights before, Who did the most in song or dance excel.
With laurels ever green were shaded o'er,
Tenacious of the stem, and firm against the wind.
Or branches for their mystic emblems took, From whence the ladies did in order move,
Of palm, of laurel, or of cerrial-oak. Come issuing out in arms a warrior train,
Thus marching to the trumpet's lofty sound, That like a deluge pour'd upon the plain :
Drawn in two lines adverse they wheel'd around, On tarbed steeds they rode in proud array,
And in the middle meadow took their ground. Thick as the college of the bees in May,
Among themselves the turney they divide, When swarming o'er the dusky fields they fly, In equal squadrons rang’d on either side. New to the flowers, and intercept the sky.
Then turn'd their horses' heads, and man to man,
To tell their costly furniture were long, And, at the sign, against each other press'd:
The mix'd events, and fortunes of the field.
man, The trumpets issued, in white mantles dress'd : And round the field the lighten'd coursers ran. A númerous troop, and all their heads around An hour and more, like tides, in equal sway With chaplets green of cerrial-oak were crown'd; They rush'd, and won by turns, and lost the day: And at each trumpet was a banner bound,
At length the nine (who still together held) Which, waving in the wind, display'd at large Their fainting foes to shameful fight compellid, Their master's coat of arms, and knightly charge. And with resistless force o'erran the field. Broad were the banners, and of snowy hue, Thus, to their fame, when finish'd was the fight, A purer web the silk-worm never drew.
The victors from their lofty steeds alight:
Like them dismounted all the warlike train,
Who near the secret harbour sung and danc d. Next these of kings-at-arms a godly train
The ladies left their measures at the sight, In proud array came prancing o'er the plain; To meet the chiefs returning from the fight, Their cloaks were cloth of silver mix'd with gold, And each with open arms embrac'd her chosen knight. And garlands green around their temples rollid; Amid the plain a spreading laurel stood, Rich crowns were on their royal scutcheons plac'd, The grace and ornament of all the wood : With sapphires, diamonds, and with rubies grac'd : That pleasing shade they sought, a soft retreat And as the trumpets their appearance made, From sudden April showers, a shelter from the heat: So these in habits were alike array'd;
Her leafy arms with such extent were spread, But with a pace more sober, and more slow; So near the clouds was her aspiring head, And twenty, rank in rank, they rode a row, That hosts of birds, that wing the liquid air, The pursuivants came next, in number more; Perch'd in the boughs, had nightly lodging there And like the heralds each his scutcheon bore: And flocks of sheep beneath the shade from far Clad in white velvet all their troop they led, Might hear the rattling hail, and wintery war, With each an oaken chaplet on his head.
From Heaven's inclemency here found retreat, Nine royal knights in equal rank succeed, Enjoy'd the cool, and shunn d the scorching heat : Each warrior mounted on a fiery steed:
A hundred knights might there at ease abide; In golden armour glorious to behold;
And every knight a lady by his side : The rivets of their arms were nail'd with gold. The trunk itself such odours did bequeath, Their surcoats of white ermin fur were made, That a Moluccan breeze to these was commor With cloth of gold between, that cast a glittering
The lords and ladies here, approaching, paid The trappings of their steeds were of the same ; Their homage, with a low obeisance made : The golden fringe ev'n set the ground on flame, And seem'd to venerate the sacred shade. And drew a precious trail : a crown divine These rites perform'd, their pleasures they pursue, Of laurel did about their temples twine.
With song of love, and mix with pleasures new; Three henchmen were for every knight assigned, Around the holy tree their dance they frame, All in rich livery clad, and of a kind :
And every champion leads his chosen dame.
For from the region of the west I heard
Of knights, and ladies mix'd, a jolly band, The third of cornel-wood a spear upright,
But all on foot they march'd, and hand in hand. Headed with piercing steel and polish bright